➹ [Download] ➵ The Unsleeping Eye By D.G. Compton ➼ – Uroturk.info
A Forgotten SF Classic That Exposed The Pitfalls Of Voyeuristic Entertainment Decades Before The Reality Show CrazeA Few Years In The Future, Medical Science Has Advanced To The Point Where It Is Practically Unheard Of For People To Die Of Any Cause Except Old Age The Few Exceptions Provide The Fodder For A New Kind Of Television Show For Avid Audiences Who Lap Up The Experience Of Watching Someone Else S Dying Weeks So When Katherine Mortenhoe Is Told That She Has About Four Weeks To Live, She Knows It S Not Just Her Life She S About To Lose But Her Privacy As Well Set in some unspecified time period in which people rarely die of illness, only of old age, such unnatural deaths are televised and have become a spectacle for an audience unused to such suffering The book has been seen as a reaction to the intrusiveness of television and nascent reality TV programming yet, in the end, it is predominantly a book about people and relationships in a particular near future milieu.Indeed, Katherine Mortenhoe doesn t even appear on television until half way through the book and then it becomes clear that this isn t some modern, intense, immersive 24 hour reality show, but in the nature of an hour or half hour nightly documentary in which the audience is provided with edited highlights of the gradual deterioration and death of the subject.Katherine Mortenhoe is to be filmed by Roddie, NTV s star reporter, who has made his own sacrifice to become even relevant and useful in a televisual age he has had his eyes replaced with cameras Having secretly watched her when she was diagnosed with her fanciful terminal illness, Roddie is certain there is going to be to Katherine Mortenhoe than a pitiful victim slowly dying in front of an eager audience Roddie is eager to follow Katherine and discover the woman who will persist, despite the pain and suffering, over her last few days, the real person who continues to exist even through the horror of illness and death.Roddie and Katherine become closer than either would have imagined as Roddie chases the continuous Katherine Mortenhoe, who has accepted her ultimate fate in death but refuses to accept her fate as surrogate for suffering and pain.The narrative takes an interesting tack in terms of point of view Roddie s point of view is told in first person Katherine s story is told in third person The continuous Katherine is distanced, as if seen through the lens Roddie, the voyeur, the surrogate viewer, is immediate and here When the novel is in third person, other, minor actors sometimes become the viewpoint character, as if they are also now part of the dramatised and continuous Katherine Mortenhoe and towards the end of the novel there is a sense that sometimes an omniscient narrator takes over, who can see everybody in, and knows everything about, the unfolding drama These movements between types of viewpoint play with the notion of subject and audience, of watcher and watched, of voyeurism and gaze in an interesting way.Both Katherine and Roddie are well developed characters, and even the minor characters are filled out enough for us to understand their motivations particularly Katherine s husband and Roddie s boss at NTV I also found Compton s writing style easy and enjoyable, with interesting turns of phrase. Most, if not all, of us have seen part of or even a whole episode of a reality show Even though of us that avoid the Real Housewives series like the plague have watched shows on HGTV, a cooking show, or even a show like Deadliest Catch Whether or not we still watch them is a different story, but odds are you have seen part of a reality show sometime At their best, reality shows are educational cooking show for instance, or blended with competition like say some cooking shows or the Amazing Race At their worst, reality shows reveal the lowest common denominator of human existence It is not just the people who go on such programs though why a father who goes on a show like the Bachelor isn t considered unfit, I don t know , but the audience as well At some level, people watch reality programs to feel superior, to judge, to feel better about their lives I may not be rich like so so but at least my children are not spoiled brats and so on At times, the audience may feel empathy, but that sense of superiority is usually present What is worse, because the term cast is used to describe those on reality shows, there is a belief that everything about them should be made common knowledge Even damning in today s age of social media that is starting to be true about everyone At times, I am amazed at what some people post on sites like Face book I don t understand why the minute someone leaves home they have to tweet about how they just got on the bus Who cares Eventually, because people are human, the tweeter is going to do something stupid Watch out for the human sharks then People start to complain about the lack of privacy and some of us joke at it, I sometimes use a network called NSA surveillance , yet, the I think about it, it seems my friend is right as well It is both a lack of privacy, but also a lack of empathy I hated shows like Funniest Home Videos because for every truly funny cat or dog video, there was a video of someone with toilet paper stuck to his her bum dancing at a wedding Why didn t the recorder tell the person Why when someone falls, everyone pulls out camera so to record but does nothing I can understand if there is gunfire, but surely helping the person out of the fountain would be the empathic thing to do We are do embarrassing and not so nice shit What gives anyone the right to broadcast us at a stupid moment It isn t even just letting the man die outside the 7 11 or in the street it s not helping the woman who crashed her bike I m not talking about snitching for that is a whole host of issues I just mean common empathy and politeness Holding the door open, saying thank you or good morning Not rushing to judgment Which in many ways is what this book is about Written in the 70s, the Continuous Katherine describes a society that is not to far removed from our own There have been reality stars that have died on television In this book, one woman doesn t want to die in public but in private The media and its viewership does not want to let her do that, and in fact, the media has an ace up its sleeve A certain network has discovered a very interesting way to use cameras What then follows is a critical look at both media and the society that consumes it The book does have its flaws There is a road trip that goes on a bit too long, though it also includes a good bit about class and underclass There are a couple of sequences that while the reader will understand why they are there, the novel could have also done without them The most brilliant aspect of the novel is the use of two primary narrative points of views Katherine s and a reporter s One of the most well crafted aspects of the novel is the use of empathy or to be exact the use of lack of empathy This is something that Katherine herself at the start of the novel has She isn t described as the iconoclast or the rebel She is simply a person, a cog She is normal She is every day The story might under fold a slightly different way were she a he, after all society does judge the genders differently The empathy theme is used most wonderfully and thought provoking with the use of the public, those that consume the media After all, the media needs us If we are going to blame the media for what we are, Compton seems to be saying, we must remember our role in it as well Not only that but how those around a person respond to such fame Of course, the book is also about how we respond to death as well as a look at how closely things become tied together Seriously, this book will make you think and it is still timely It will make you think about empathy Note July 2016 NYRB Book of the Month I have finally found time to reread this novel before posting about it, and the second time through opened my eyes to much than I found the first time This book was my real world book group s read at the end of June it is also one of the most thought provoking novels I ve read in a long while Written in 1974, and alternatively titled The Unsleeping Eye, it seems almost prescient, as it deals with issues that are at the center of debate forty plus years later It s also a book I can certainly recommend.https www.readingavidly.com 2019 07As Jeff VanderMeer says in his introduction, the future in which the novel is set is an uncanny mirror of our own, of an age in which everyone really is a camera eye, or at least carries one around in his pocket While there is a great focus on the overreach of technology and reality television, which caused no end of discussion with the ladies in my book group, The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe is a very human novel at its core It unravels slowly to eventually become a story of not just death and dying, but also of relationships in a society where everything is driven by technology It not only asks how well can we truly know someone, but at its heart is, again quoting VanderMeer from the intro, a portrait of an intelligent, middle aged woman grappling with the ultimate existential crisis How does one conduct oneself while dying It was difficult to put down once I started reading, and it s also not hard to imagine while reading that yesterday s fiction has become today s reality, which for me in this particular instance is a rather disturbing thought. I saw that Jeff VanderMeer had written the introduction for this, so I snagged it when it became available in Edelweiss for review.I wasn t super into it I think I was struggling to read it in the context of that time Because reality tv is so pervasive now, it s almost a logical step to consider a reality show that follows a death We have some of that already when people announce they are choosing assisted suicide, when news becomes reality tv But considering that this is from the 1970s, it is very smart in predicting the future.To me, this felt a bit like Philip K Dick in tone If you like him you are likely to enjoy this Thanks to Edelweiss for a chance to see the fresh release of this classic I hadn t heard of the author before.